ALS is not a joke. TDI joins with ALS community in expressing outrage over "joke" in the MacFarlane/Wahlberg movie "Ted"

Letter from Steve Perrin CEO posted on social media and sent to movie's producers

By: Steve Perrin

Below is the text of a letter sent from TDI CEO Steve Perrin to the producers of the movie Ted in response to a crude "joke" made in reference to ALS.  During the film, one character says to another "From one man to another, I hope you get Lou Gehrig's disease!".  A copy of this letter was also posted on the TDI and YFALS Facebook pages.

Thursday, July 05, 2012
Universal Pictures
Attn: Jason Clark, Producer, Ted
100 Universal City Plaza
Bldg. 2160/8H
Universal City, CA 91608
Dear Jason,
The ALS Therapy Development Institute (TDI) finds the use of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in the movie Ted as a punch line of a joke to be unacceptable. As the world’s leading preclinical research center focused entirely on ALS, we are writing today on behalf of the people living with ALS today and their families who are in desperate need of an effective treatment or cure for ALS – and whom you have targeted in your crude joke.
We believe that there is never an appropriate time to make light of Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a progressive and fatal disease that affects nearly half a million people and their families worldwide - for which there is currently no effective treatment or cure. While the producers of the film have every right to freedom of speech, the outcome here has had a troubling ripple effect. The “joke” in Ted has fueled continued misinformation and stigma within the general public about what Lou Gehrig’s disease is and what it is not. We hope that you will take the time to listen to your critics, many of which have lost the ability to share those criticisms with you because Lou Gehrig’s disease has robbed them of their ability to speak or write.
We also recognize that calling attention to this disease through the line in the movie Ted could be seen as a boon for ALS awareness. The ALS community has done a tremendous job in being united in its outrage. We hope that the awareness created can be turned into action to end ALS and we invite the producers of Ted to join us in helping to accomplish that by turning this unfortunate situation into a positive one for patients today.
The fact is that more money was spent on the making of Ted than has been spent in the last decade on understanding and stopping Lou Gehrig’s disease. I invite the producers of Ted and others involved in this film to tour the Institute and meet with community members as soon as possible.
Steve Perrin, Ph.D.

CEO & Chief Scientific Officer